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HARP 2.0 Refinances Are Hot

*HARP Refinances Are Hot*
**By Tony Garritano**

***Is HARP 2.0 working? According to 360 Mortgage Group, a privately-owned mortgage bank, with a 100 percent focus on the wholesale mortgage lending channel, has seen a significant increase in refinancings being offered to homeowners under HARP 2.0. Since HARP 2.0 went into effect on March 17, 2012, 360 Mortgage has seen a drastic increase in the active loan pipeline and does not see any signs of a slowdown in the near future. This significant increase in demand from borrowers is a direct result of the company offering fewer restrictions and more simplified eligibility requirements than others in the industry.

****“Unlike many of the larger banks that are only offering HARP refinancing opportunities on mortgages they are currently servicing, 360 Mortgage is committed to working with the improved and fully-licensed mortgage broker community to help homeowners take advantage of historically low interest rates, improve cash-flow and preserve potential home equity gains under this well-conceived housing policy,” commented Mark Greco, President and Founder of 360 Mortgage. “We are excited to open up our refinancing services to millions of individuals who have previously been restricted by various eligibility requirements.”

****HARP 2.0 was designed to help homeowners refinance into shorter-term loans in order to rebuild equity more quickly. With 360 Mortgage, Expanded Approval (EA)-I, II, III, and occupancy loans are HARP-eligible with no overlays, unlimited LTV and CLTVs with Automated Underwriting (AU) Approval. The wholesale lender is also accepting Mortgage Insurance (MI) transfers and will require no appraisals on loans with an Appraisal Field Waivers (AFW). Finally, there is no limit on the number of financed properties owned by a borrower that can be considered HARP-eligible and no minimum FICO is required. 360 Mortgage will consider borrowers whose application date is listed after December 1, 2011.

****“Due to the overwhelming volume of refinancing applications, many mortgage lenders have been forced to set their own restrictions that are not in the spirit, or a reflection of, the updated HARP 2.0 guidelines,” continued Mr. Greco. “360 Mortgage is focused on expanding our mortgage broker partners and operational infrastructure so we can meet the growing demand.”

****According to research released by Lender Processing Services on August 9, 2012, HARP has seen considerable activity since the beginning of 2012 even though overall mortgage prepayment activity remains stable.

****“Since first accepting HARP 2.0 applications in March, 360 Mortgage’s active loan pipeline has increased by more than 700 percent,” added Mr. Greco. “HARP 2.0 has been very successful so far with the number of homeowners taking advantage of the program, and we expect that trend will continue in the coming months.”

Tony Garritano
Tony Garritano is chairman and founder at PROGRESS in Lending Association. As a speaker Tony has worked hard to inform executives about how technology should be a tool used to further business objectives. For over 10 years he has worked as a journalist, researcher and speaker in the mortgage technology space. Starting this association was the next step for someone like Tony, who has dedicated his career to providing mortgage executives with the information needed to make informed technology decisions. He can be reached via e-mail at tony@progressinlending.com.

Video Insights: Solving Business Problems

*Solving Business Problems*
**Industry Insiders Weigh In**

***We discuss what is really hurting our industry. Our Straight Talkers Roger Gudobba and Kelly Purcell discuss the new emerging secondary market. Also, Mechanics Cooperative Bank details how to change to new technology the right way. Further, Michael Hammond schools you on how to reach out to prospects without selling. Lastly, Tony Garritano breaks down the impact of HARP 2.0 so far.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LydKBlP8fw&feature=youtu.be

Progress In Lending
The Place For Thought Leaders And Visionaries

Understanding The News: Is Your Website HARP 2.0 Ready?

*Is Your Website HARP 2.0 Ready?*
**Reach Out To Borrowers Easily**

***PROGRESS in Lending has learned that Financial Literacy Solutions LLC, a firm that uses the power of the Internet and the accessibility of video to educate consumers about their mortgage options and to provide a more effective communication channel for loan originators, servicers and asset managers, has released a new video solution that lenders can use on their websites to attract borrowers who hope to refinance their loans under the government’s HARP 2.0 program.

****“Borrowers are tired of hearing about government programs that can’t help them because they don’t qualify,” said Garth Graham, founder and president of Financial Literacy Solutions. “This happens when borrowers don’t fully understand the programs or what it takes to qualify. The result is that the lender loses credibility and loses the borrower’s trust. Our new educational video on HARP 2.0 reduces that risk and puts more borrowers into the lender’s pipeline.”

****Like all of the web video widgets that FLS provides, the HARP 2.0 video allows lenders to more effectively communicate with borrowers in a manner that has been shown to be more engaging to American consumers. Video is currently the most viewed online content and home loan borrowers who view online videos are more engaged with the lender that offers it.

****In addition to the video, the widget provides links to other useful information, including a qualification wizard that leads the borrower through the qualification criteria without every leaving the video player.  FLS widgets can be shared easily with partners, such as real estate agents, who also want to provide valuable information to their clients. It can be deployed on a website, a blog or a Facebook page, with installation typically in only minutes.

****FLS has been heavily involved in creating solutions for the mortgage servicing and credit counseling industry, deploying video-based, consumer-facing educational material to help borrowers avoid foreclosure. Just as video can be used to help borrowers avoid losing their homes, it can also be used to educate consumers on their options for new loans.

Progress In Lending
The Place For Thought Leaders And Visionaries

Market Analysis: Do You Need Help With HARP 2.0?

*Do You Need Help With HARP 2.0?*
**By Tony Garritano**

***I’ve talked a lot about HARP 2.0. Why? Because it’s a real opportunity if done well. So, when I hear about technology that can help, I’m going to tell you about. Recently I was told that ServiceLink, an end-to-end origination and default solutions provider for 15 of the top 20 mortgage lenders and servicers, has expanded the availability of its HARP 2.0 solutions to lenders nationwide, including regional and smaller national lending institutions, which stand to benefit most from this enhanced government program. No new-comer to the HARP process, ServiceLink has been providing both custom and standardized programs to support HARP transactions for the nation’s leading financial institutions since the program’s inception in 2009. To date, ServiceLink has successfully completed hundreds of thousands of HARP transactions for its customers, helping borrowers stay in their homes in the process. Here’s their story:

****In keeping with the company’s customized service-based philosophy, ServiceLink provides its lender customers with a solution that effectively resolves capacity issues through the use of customized workflow processes. ServiceLink carefully aligns its processes and capabilities to effectively meet its customers’ unique business needs, enabling them to significantly reduce cycle times, while mitigating risk and optimizing the overall borrower experience. In order to facilitate each lender’s unique business needs, HARP transactions may be submitted to ServiceLink in a variety of ways, including custom systems integration, the company’s website or through leading third-party transaction platforms.

****Once a lender has identified and solicited a borrower for participation in the HARP 2.0 program and assigned the loan to ServiceLink, ServiceLink then runs the loan data through its proprietary SmartConneXion iApprove platform to make informed title workflow decisions, triggering rapid production of title commitments and “clear to close” notifications. This allows ServiceLink to measure the delivery of title commitments in minutes rather than hours or days. Additionally, over 90 percent of the loan files that ServiceLink manages through this process achieve a “clear to close” title in just two days.

****Through its Web-based closing solution, iClose, ServiceLink then works directly with borrowers to conveniently review and execute the loan documents from virtually any location at any time. Access to real-time, face-to-face video technology further enhances the borrower experience for ServiceLink’s customers. Additionally, HARP closings leverage all of the available closing solutions, including in-home signings, in-branch signings and traditional office closings.

Tony Garritano
Tony Garritano is chairman and founder at PROGRESS in Lending Association. As a speaker Tony has worked hard to inform executives about how technology should be a tool used to further business objectives. For over 10 years he has worked as a journalist, researcher and speaker in the mortgage technology space. Starting this association was the next step for someone like Tony, who has dedicated his career to providing mortgage executives with the information needed to make informed technology decisions. He can be reached via e-mail at tony@progressinlending.com.

Market Analysis: The Impact Of HARP 2.0

*The Impact Of HARP 2.0*
**By Tony Garritano**

***I’ve been talking to a lot of people about HARP 2.0. Will it help? Will it hurt? Will it have any impact at all? The jury is out depending on who you talk to. Regardless, Urban Lending Solutions, a provider of residential and commercial outsource fulfillment and settlement services to the mortgage origination and servicing industry, has shifted internal resources to provide more support to lenders and servicers that will capitalize on the new streamlined Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP).

****“This is going to be a great opportunity for the nation’s homeowners,” said Mike Forgas, President of Urban Lending Solutions. “The new guidelines will allow more borrowers to qualify and this will lead to an increase in refinance activity. Banks may not be staffed to handle this increase and they are reaching out to qualified partners to help support and streamline the HARP 2.0 refinance process. We have been very successful supporting our existing clients with the HARP process.”

****The original goal of the HARP program was to allow underwater borrowers to refinance. However, strict guidelines prevented many homeowners who wanted to refinance from qualifying. Under HARP 2.0, these restrictions have been relaxed and the processing has been streamlined. Many industry experts expect the program to result in a wave of new refinances. However, industry guidance from the former GSEs has thus far been sketchy, leading many lenders to seek out professional support for their upcoming HARP 2.0 programs.

****“This is an excellent opportunity for banks to meet their annual corporate diversity goals at the same time they significantly expand their refinance business, if they partner with a qualified Minority Business Enterprise,” said Thomas “T.J.” Lewis, Corporate Diversity and Business Development Executive for ULS. “We have a proven team that is already working with some of the nation’s largest lenders and servicers and we are an MBE. It makes us a perfect choice for this program.”

****“Our experienced team of mortgage professionals will allow us to help our lender partners move quickly to secure this new business,” said Penny Nelson, Vice President of Mortgage Services Operations for ULS. “We have Urban University, and a dedicated training team that allows us to get our staff up to speed very quickly on the bank’s technology platform.”

Tony Garritano
Tony Garritano is chairman and founder at PROGRESS in Lending Association. As a speaker Tony has worked hard to inform executives about how technology should be a tool used to further business objectives. For over 10 years he has worked as a journalist, researcher and speaker in the mortgage technology space. Starting this association was the next step for someone like Tony, who has dedicated his career to providing mortgage executives with the information needed to make informed technology decisions. He can be reached via e-mail at tony@progressinlending.com.